Tag Archives: India

A year well spent

My first year of uni is all done and dusted and it went by quick; so quick that it was over before I knew it. Looking back, all I see is a good year and a decision well made. From moving to UC purely due to economic reasons simply because it offered the highest scholarship, to actually enjoying my time here, I’ve come a long way.

Academic study, work and the social aspect have all been worth the price and the distance from home. I’ve met all kinds of people which has helped me expand my cultural knowledge. I consider myself fortunate to have met so many people and made good friends in such a short period of time; friends who care, who have goals and ambitions, and friends who are trustworthy.

The academic standard of UC is also one of the criteria that drew me here and I am not disappointed! With exceptional teaching standards and an even more impressive student-oriented development approach, UC has checked all my boxes in terms of academic infrastructure and teaching facilities that the usual international student looks for.

Coming from India, a ridiculously crowded and busy country, perhaps the only negative of my decision would be the population and atmosphere of the city. I miss the crowds, traffic and the general urgency that people have in getting things done. However, UC’s thriving student life completely makes up for it by providing a really vibrant campus.

The events hosted by both UC and the UCSA are commendable, especially those that are held to help ease the transition for first years, be it academic or social. In a way, the lack of buzz in the city is probably why UC has such a strong, active student body that keeps and contains all student life on a thriving campus.

To a university that has given me so much I’ve always wanted to give back as much as I can and fortunately, I have had the chance to do so this year. Working for various departments at UC throughout the year I have had the chance to provide my services to this institution and learn how things work from an administrative point of view; and I can gladly say that a large part of everything done is aimed with the best interest of students and the wider community in mind.

Halfway through the year, I realised that I wanted to play an active  part in delivering the student life that UC has to offer and have taken some measures accordingly. One of them, is being fortunate enough to be able to blog on this website which has been my only outlet to communicate to the student base at UC.

UC has a solid mentoring program and before next year, I should be officially on board as a mentor and be able to help anyone throughout the year as needed. Doing one thing at UC always opens up more opportunities and mentoring gives me the chance to be a student leader at both UC Orientation Day and International Welcome for 2015. This, I am particularly excited about as I get to meet and welcome new students and can relate to them entirely as it hasn’t been too long since I was in their shoes.

If I have to give some pointers to freshers, it would be to put yourself out there completely and shamelessly; the more you do, the more you know. This particularly helps internationals, as you have so much on your plate that you barely have time to get homesick. Also, living on campus, at least for the first semester, is highly recommended. It may be more expensive but is totally worth  it.  You constantly meet new people which helps ease the transition because you’ll soon have plenty of faces and names that are familiar.

The last thing I can recommend is to know when to ask for help. Sure, most of the time all of us know what to do and how to, but sometimes you have to step aside and admit that you don’t know something and need help; don’t let your ego or fear get in the way. It is okay to ask for help at any point and personally, I think it’s brave to realise that you need a hand and actively seek it.

At the end of this year, all I can say is I can’t wait for the next year and look forward to what it has in store for me as I know it only gets better from here. I am blessed to have had the opportunities I’ve had and am fortunate to have been able to set up a great support system, both at university and otherwise, and am truly grateful for all that has happened and everything that will.

Diwali was here again…

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights has come and gone again and Christchurch paid its due by hosting a massive, culture-filled event.

Diwali happens to be the biggest Indian event in Christchurch consistently and this year was no exception. Located in the Horncastle Arena, it was an extravagant six hour long event that took place last Saturday. With lots of  spicy Indian food, henna stalls, traditional shoes and sari stalls and a whole lot of Bollywood dance performances,  the place was packed with Indians and lots of other nationalities who were all keen to learn about the festival and broaden their cultural knowledge.

For those of you who don’t know what the festival is, here’s just a quick summary and it is best to narrate it as a story!

Once upon a time, there was a Prince named Ram who was sent into exile with his wife for 10 long years as he fell prey to his stepmother’s politics. After a long ten years that was filled with lots of action and events, Lord Ram was finally returning back to the kingdom with his wife Sita, after defeating and killing the demon Raavan. To celebrate his homecoming, the locals of the kingdom lit fire torches to create a pathway for the two from the forest to the kingdom.

To this day, the homecoming is celebrated in the most extravagant way. Traditionally in India people burst firecrackers (the atom bomb being my favorite!), conduct religious rituals and of course eat a whole lot of Indian food with the entire family.

Personally, being away from home these are the things you miss the most and it was calming to see  such a massive cultural impact in Christchurch and more importantly how people from other cultures embraced it and were curious to be a part of all the excitement.

Did you get to Diwali this year? If so, please leave me a comment with your thoughts.